The shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award for the 2014/15 season was stacked with an unbelievable amount of talent.
All six of the youngsters were having phenomenal seasons that earned them a place on the shortlist, but the heights reached by the players since then are even more incredible.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the players nominated that year and what they went on to achieve in their careers.
Included on the list was a 22-year-old Thibaut Courtois who was enjoying an unbelievable season at Chelsea. Incredibly the youngster had already managed to displace veteran goalkeeper and Chelsea legend Petr Cech as the club’s first choice.
The PFA website described the Belgian shot-stopper at the time of the awards: “Standing at just over 6ft 6ins Courtois cuts an imposing figure and his physical stature has been mirrored in the dominant nature of his performances in the Barclays Premier League.
“Aside from his incredible athleticism and shot-stopping ability, Courtois’ mentality, control and self-assured manner instils confidence in his defensive colleagues, giving the young Belgian an aura of calm beyond his years.”
After winning a La Liga title, the Copa del Rey, the Europa League and a Super Cup whilst on loan at Atletico Madrid, the Belgian returned to his parent club Chelsea and continued to bring home the major trophies.
During his time with the Blues Courtois picked up an impressive two Premier League titles, a League Cup and an FA Cup.
After a breakdown in his relationship with the club, the keeper refused to return to training following the 2017/18 season. He eventually prevailed in forcing through a move to take him back to Madrid and closer to his family. This time, however, the goalkeeper found himself on the opposite side of the city at Real Madrid.
During his second spell in the Spanish capital, the goalkeeper won even more major trophies, including a second La Liga title, the Supercopa de Espana and a Club World Cup.
The Belgian has remained at Real Madrid ever since and is still their number one shot-stopper to this day, now aged 29.
The PFA website described Coutinho at the time: “There have been a number of stand-out performers in a resurgent Liverpool side this season and few deserve greater plaudits than the young Brazilian.
“Philippe Coutinho has been an inspiration in a floating midfield role which allows him to exert his influence over games, utilising his pace, poise and deftness of touch.
“A product of the Vasco da Gama academy, Coutinho continues to show maturity beyond his 22 years.”
Coutinho remained at Liverpool until the 2017/18 season, scoring a total of 54 goals and providing 43 assists in 201 appearances. The Brazilian was loved by the Anfield faithful but lost a lot of respect when he forced through a move to Spanish giants Barcelona.
Coutinho won two La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, and a Supercopa de Espana during his time at Barcelona, however, most people agree that his time at the club has been underwhelming overall.
On 7 January 2022 Barcelona agreed a loan deal with Premier League club Aston Villa that will see him reunited with former teammate and current Villa manager Steven Gerrard.
David De Gea:
The second goalkeeper on the list David de Gea was already seen as a top-level player at the time, despite only being 24-years-old at the time of the award.
Similarly to Courtois de Gea also made his name at Atletico Madrid, however, unlike Courtois, the Spaniard was a product of the Atletico youth academy.
During his time at Atletico, de Gea picked up a Europa League trophy and a Super Cup, before making the switch to Manchester United in 2011 for a record British fee for a goalkeeper of £17.8m.
The PFA described de Gea as ‘one of the best goalkeepers on the planet’ at the time. A pretty incredible feat for a 24-year-old. The PFA also added: “Whilst earlier in the season some of the Old Trafford faithful were frustrated with the manner of the team’s performances, the three-time European champions still managed to grind out results and this was in no small part due to the brilliance of de Gea.
“The United goalkeeper at times has looked unbeatable, consistently producing match-winning saves at pivotal moments. In November this resulted in the Spanish international being voted the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month.”
Before the awards, de Gea had already won a Premier League title and two FA Community Shields with United in 2012/13. Since then the Spaniard has become a mainstay at United, picking up a second Europa League trophy, a third FA Community Shield, an FA Cup and an EFL Cup. de Gea is now on his way to reaching an incredible 500 games in a United shirt.
Long before Eden Hazard was nominated for the Young Player of the Year he was already winning awards. Starting his career at Lille, the Belgian youngster helped the side to win their first Ligue 1 title since 1954. Hazard was voted as the Ligue 1 Player of the Season that same year but had already been voted as the best youngster for the two previous years consecutively.
But at the time of the awards Hazard had already made his move to the Premier League and won a Europa League trophy with Chelsea. Chelsea also clinched the Football League Cup around the same time as the awards and were well on their way to winning the 2014/15 Premier League title.
The PFA described Hazard at the time: “Hazard’s balance and touch, combined with his low centre of gravity, has consistently caused havoc amongst opposition defences throughout the 2014/15 campaign.
“Hazard’s goal tally for the season is already well into double figures, and only Diego Costa has scored more at Chelsea. A key player for country as well as club, he was recently rewarded with a new five and a half-year contract at the Bridge.”
After the awards, Chelsea clinched the league title, but that wasn’t the last of Hazard’s trophies at the London club. The Belgian added a second Premier League title, an FA Cup and a second Europa League title to his collection.
Eventually, Hazard secured his dream move to Real Madrid following the 2018/19 season; however, his time at the Spanish club has been anything but a dream. Blighted by a stream of injuries Hazard has been unable to recapture the form he maintained at Chelsea for such a long period.
In the previous season, the English youngster had won the Golden Boy award and Liverpool’s Young Player of the Season. Sterling had bagged 10 goals during the 2013/14 season and would go on to finish the 2014/15 season with 11.
The PFA described Sterling at the time: “After a stunning start to the season, Raheem Sterling found the going tough and his manager was quick to recognise his rising star needed a break.”
“So much had been asked of the young England international in the 2013/14 season, Brendan Rodgers felt a re-charging of the batteries might be in order.
“On his return, the zip and zest we had all seen earlier in the campaign returned, and Sterling was back to his best and firing on all cylinders once again.”
In a recurring theme for the players on this list, Sterling would force a move away from his club shortly after the awards. After some public back and forth between the player, his agent and the club, Raheem was eventually sold to Manchester City for a reported fee of around £50m that same summer.
Sterling has remained at Manchester City ever since, earning himself an incredible trophy haul in the process. His collection now boasts three Premier League trophies, an FA Cup, four EFL Cups and an FA Community Shield. Raheem remains at Manchester City up to this day and has managed over 300 appearances for the club.
Harry Kane (winner of the award):
Although like Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane was yet to win any major honours at the time of the awards, it was also clear he was well on his way to becoming a superstar.
Kane was having an incredible season with Tottenham that would eventually see him crowned as the PFA Young Player of the Year over all of the nominees previously discussed. He had already won the Premier League Player of the Month in January and February consecutively and his team would finish as runners up in the EFL Cup.
The PFA described Kane at the time: “Initially restricted largely to cup performances, Kane’s form ensured he was given an opportunity in the Barclays Premier League, a chance he has grabbed with both hands.
“Currently joint top-goal scorer in the Premier League with 19 goals, Kane is only one goal away from breaking the 30 goal threshold in all competitions.
“The fact he is a home-grown talent has made his rise to stardom all the more special for Spurs’ fans, who proudly proclaim him as ‘one of their own’.”
Kane, alongside David de Gea, remains one of only two players on this list to still be at the same club as when they were nominated for the award. Despite winning no major honours during his time at Tottenham, Kane has won many individual honours.
His collection includes three Premier League Golden Boot awards, a FIFA World Cup Golden Boot, two England Player of the Year awards, a Premier League Playmaker of the Season award and he has featured in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year an incredible five times.
The 2014/15 PFA Young Player of the Year awards surely has to go down as one of the most incredible shortlists the award has ever featured. The careers that the nominees have carved out since the awards, and the trophy collection achieved by this group of players is almost unbelievable.